Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oregon Homebrewers threatened by new legal interpretations

I just got back from a 5 day trip to California to find a slew of new emails in my inbox over a new interpretation of Oregon laws that would effectively illegalize homebrewing competitions and ban the consumption of homebrew anywhere other than in the home. This new change has the homebrewing community in a panic, and rightfully so! I have no doubts that this law will eventually be changed, but it's not going to happen without our help. Here are a couple of articles outlining the recent happenings:

If you live in Oregon, please write your local representative, RIGHT NOW, and ask them to re-write the law and legalize the consumption of homebrew outside of the home, according to the same laws that commercial beer may be consumed under, as long as it is not being sold.
You can send a message to your local representative here.

Thanks & Brew Strong,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mr. T's 30 lb. Necklace: Part 2 Sucka!

Mr. T's first incarnation was pretty darn good, but it's latest incarnation will hopefully kick even more ass. It has kind of evolved from a Golden Strong ale that tasted more like a Tripel, to actually being a Tripel, and hopefully a much better one at that.

For numbers on ABV and IBU's I stuck pretty close to Westmalle, my favorite Tripel. I also used the Wyeast equivalent of their yeast. I did however use what ingredients I had on hand, so most of the base grain is organic 2-row instead of pilsner. For sugar I used sugar in the raw. I was a little worried about the unrefined sugar adding too much of an odd rummy flavor, and I considered splitting the huge sugar load between that and corn sugar, but in the end I just went for it. The sugar does have a noticeable aroma that I really like, so hopefully it will work well with the beer and not throw it too far off the style. If this beer turns out really well, I could see it being a great beer to do for Christmas presents again, because it will be even stronger and better aged by the time Christmas comes along. I'm planning on bottle conditioning this, most likely.

Mr. T's 30 lb. Necklace, Part 2 Sucka!
Brewed on 6/14/10
Recipe is for 6.75 gallons pre-boil before sugar, 5.9 gallons post boil, all grain
O.G. 1.083 F.G. ABV IBU's 38

9 lb. Great Western organic 2-row
2 lb. Weyermann Pilsner
.5 lb Munich
2.5 lbs (!) organic cane sugar, like Sugar in the Raw

30 gr. Sterling pellets 7% AA 90 min
21 gr. Styrian Goldings pellets 3.5% 30 min
21 gr. Styrian Goldings pellets 3.5% 3 min
26 gr. Sterling pellets 7% AA loose dry hop
16 gr. Simcoe pellets 12.2% AA loose dry hop

Mash: 4 gallons + 3 gr. gypsum + 3 gr. calcium chloride
Mash in to 148, fell to 145 over 45 minutes.
Raised to 160 over 10 minutes, rest 10 minutes and begin sparge.

Sparge with 5 gallons at 170
Collect 6.75 gallons at 1.055 = 89% efficiency.

Boil 90 minutes, sugar at beginning of boil.
Wyeast nutrient & Whirlfloc at 10 min

Chill with plate chiller to 70 degrees, oxygen for 90 seconds.
Pitch 1/2+ cups thick yeast slurry of Wyeast 3787 generation 2.
Chill to 65 in the next hour, slow ramp to 72 over 12 days. Left in the primary at ambient temp for 4 weeks.

7/14/10 Racked to keg, flavor sample was good but gravity was stuck at 1.020. First time I've had an under attenuated beer in quite a while! I pitched a little of a krausening starter of Cali 001 for the IPA brew into the keg, attached a blow off hose, and it seems to be slowly fermenting the remaining sugars at room temp.

8/9/10 Racked to a second keg which will be my bottling keg. This beer tastes great but the mutherfucker still won't dry out! It's sitting at 1.018 currently. Think I'm going to have to have a talk with Mr. T, maybe he is just getting too old. Next step will be to add a little Dupont yeast from the latest saison and give this sucka another month to dry out. I'm in no hurry and I won't be happy until it's under 1.012.

6/9/11 This beer was kegged off and refrigerated for the move in October but it never fell below 1.016. Must have been unfermentables from the raw sugar? The beer tasted very cloying so around February or March, I decided to pull it out, de-carb it, and add brett. Added bottle dregs from 2 750's of my strong brett saison. This dropped it to about 1.010, and tasting it tasted really good. I decided to add the dry hops, after that I'll either keg or bottle.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

PCTBB Recipes & "Round Table" Tasting

A few months ago my buddy Angelo, a local beer writer and founder of Brewpublic, asked me to be an contributor for the website. I think it will be a cool opportunity to add a homebrew-y perspective to an already great craft beer publication. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to write about, but I'll just write when I get an inspired idea. I don't really want to do the "Brewery X releases yadda-yadda limited release" thing, not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's being done plenty well by plenty of beer writers already.

For my first piece I invited some local homebrewers to my place to do a "round table peer review" of our Portland Cheers to Belgian Beers homebrew entries. It was a lot of fun for everyone involved, and you can read the full article here, including a tasting of the 2 recipes below.
Here are the 2 recipes I submitted to the PCTBB competition. Neither of them placed, but they scored well and I am happy with how they both came out. I'm not sure how many Belgian Specialty ales were entered exactly, but it was probably around 20.

The first beer, which I entered as a "Dry hopped Belgian Bitter", was inspired by De Ranke XX Bitter, but it tastes more like a super hop-fruity saison, a lot of tangerine and citrus going on with some bitterness and also some residual sweetness.

Brewed on 3/5/2010
Recipe is for 7 gallons pre-boil, 5.7 gallons post-boil, all grain
O.G. 1.067 F.G. 1.010 IBU's 63 ABV 7.5%

6.5 lb. Great Western Superior pilsner malt
5 lb. Belgian pale malt
.25 lb. aromatic malt

11 gr. Nelson Sauvin (2008) pellets 11% AA 60 min
28 gr. American Perle pellets 7.5% AA 20 min
28 gr. Styrian Goldings pellets 3.5% AA 10 min
28 gr. Czech Saaz pellets 3.1% AA 0 min
21 gr. Hallertau pellets 3.1% 0 min
14 gr. Willamette whole 4.7% 0 min
42 gr. Sterling pellets dry hopped cold for 12 days

Mash: 4 gallons + 4 gr. gypsum + 1 gr. calcium chloride
150 for 1 hour
Sparge with 5 gallons
Collect 7 gallons at 1.054 = 84% efficiency
Boil 90 minutes, with additions of whirlfloc and wyeast nutrient at 15 minutes
Oxygen for 75 seconds
Pitch Wyeast 3724 Farmhouse Ale Yeast at 66 degrees
Raise to 80 degrees over 10 days, then finish ferment at 75
Racked to secondary after 13 days to harvest yeast for the second batch.
Racked to keg on 4/10/10 and force carbonate, also dry hop in keg.

The second brew I did was a "Cascadian Dark Saison", which is basically very similar to the "fresh-hopped black saison" I did last October. Of course I used the Farmhouse yeast strain to make it eligible for the competition, as well as lowering the amount of base grain to get the alcohol down a bit. I used all dried hops this time, concentrating on American varieties that I thought would compliment a saison yeast but also be very up-front in the aroma.

Brewed on 3/18/10
Recipe is for 7.1 gallons pre-boil, 6 gallons post boil, all grain
O.G. 1.063 F.G. 1.008 IBU's 55 ABV 7.25%

6.5 lb. Great western Superior Pilsner malt
2.5 lb. Weyermann Pilsner malt
1.5 lb. Munich malt
.75 lb. caramunich 60L
.5 lb. Carafa Special III 600 L

28 gr. Magnum whole 12% AA 60 min
28 gr. Amarillo whole 8.6% AA 15 min
28 gr. Crystal pellets 3.2% AA 15 min
28 gr. Amarillo whole 8.6% AA 0 min
28 gr. Crystal pellets 3.2% AA 0 min

Mash: 4 gallons H20 + 5 gr. chalk, 3 gr. gypsum, 1 gr. calcium chloride, 2 gr. baking soda
148 for 60 min, then raise to 160 over 8 minutes, rest 15 minutes.
Sparge with 5 gallons, collect 7.1 gallons at 1.053 = 86% efficiency.
Boil 90 minutes with whirlfloc and Wyeast nutrient at 15 minutes
Oxygen for 75 seconds
Pitch 1/2 cup thick yeast slurry of Wyeast 3724 from the first recipe.
Warmed to 74 over 3 days and left it there for 7 days.
Finished out at 80 and racked to keg on 4/14/10, force carbonated.

Just for fun here are some photos from the PCTBB event hosted at Hopworks. It was a really fun day! I got drunk. Lots of great beers to taste and a few bad ones.